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That Black Widow spider always reminds me of Susanna, my lifelong friend and neighbour . . . As I was never her husband, I have survived to tell this story. Since his childhood, Arun has secretly been in love with Susanna, his dangerously alluring neighbour, who becomes his friend despite the wide difference in their ages. But Susanna has a weakness for falling in love with the wrong men. Over the years, Arun watches as Susanna becomes notorious as the merry widow who flits from one marriage to another, leaving behind a trail of dead husbands. It is only a matter of time before he too begins to wonder if there is any truth to the slanderous gossip surrounding the woman he is in love with. In this gripping new novella of love and death, Bond revisits his previously published short story of the same name, included here in an appendix. This edition also features the screenplay Saat Khoon Maaf, based on this novella and written by award-winning film-maker Vishal Bhardwaj and Matthew Robbins.
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Ruskin Bond’s first novel, The Room on the Roof, written when he was seventeen, won the John Llewellyn Rhys Memorial prize in 1957. Since then he has written several novellas (including Vagrants in the Valley, A Flight of Pigeons and Delhi Is Not Far) essays, poems and children’s books many of which have been published by Penguin India.. He has also written over 500 short stories and articles that have appeared in a number of magazines and anthologies. He received a Sahitya Akademi Award in 1993, and the Padma Shri in 1999.
Ruskin Bond was born in Kasauli, Himachal Pradesh, and grew up in Jamnagar, Dehradun, Delhi and Simla. As a young man, he spent four years in the Channel Islands and London. He returned to India in 1955, and has never left the country since. He now lives in Landour, Mussoorie, with his extended family.
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